Update from Survivor Two
Sam Allison-Natale didn’t even address me because he knows he and Hannah Allison-Natale are wrong. Hannah has remained radio silent these past few days, despite always declaring herself an advocate for women of color. Her friends compare me speaking out to the motivation behind lynchings, and I can guarantee you that they do not have the same ties to that word that I do. Leo is a white person, and I am not. I have faced racial discrimination and prejudice and they have not. Do not tell me to be silent in the face of my white harasser. I have done it once before, and I will never do it again. Hannah, you made us read the Combahee River Statement at the first Racial Justice/Socialist Feminist Reading Group. Are you that tone deaf? You are my ally, or you are my enemy.
I wanted to have action taken against Leo Niehorster-Cook. I expected that Hannah and Sam Allison-Natale would take care of it after I tried to reach out because I trusted them as experienced leaders and mentors. I didn’t even get a text, but I sure as hell got invited to every canvassing event and strike (all of which Leo was at). I did not know my options at that point in time, but even if I did, how could I trust their system when I had seen so many previous failures of it? Rather than contacting me directly, I heard months later from an outside source that they were going to give Leo the “don’t fuck other organizers” talk. There was never a question of what I wanted with Hannah and Sam. They let it escalate to Leo reaching out to me repeatedly, pushing me to leave the organization, rather than offering me any resources or solidarity. These were the people who convinced me to join DSA in the first place.
I felt perfectly comfortable giving a public statement.
My only concerns were Hannah and Sam’s reactions and Leo. I genuinely fear Leo and the influence Sam and Hannah have. I have deleted my social media because my mental health has deteriorated as I watch people question my sanity and mental fitness. Sam claims that we are the ones with power, but I have never felt more powerless and alone. The “scary Maoist sectarians” (which is an apparatus of fear used to divide people and discredit the statements of survivors; it’s literally a title that only Sam calls us) have been the only people to advocate for me. They are my true comrades.
I knew that even if speaking out was something that was risky, or felt scary, at least 3 other people outside of DSA had been harassed by Leo. I refuse to be a bystander to their abuse, because it will escalate. It always does.
This isn’t about internal politics, this is about safety. I haven’t been an active member within DSA since I quit in August. I have nothing to gain. You don’t even know my name. This is something that is a general concern within the KU Community. People that I care about, and those that I have yet to know, have been affected, and will continue to be affected unless action is taken against people like Leo, Hannah, and Sam.